Welcoming autumn Chinese medicine style


It’s the end of the long hot summer days, as autumn is signalled by the visual representation of trees beginning to lose their leaves as they slowly change from a vibrant green to yellow, orange, and red. The cold mornings start to tell us to pack away summer clothes and get out the warmer thicker winter clothes.

Energetically we begin to move from the yang expansive energies of summer when the nights we long, we were out socialising more, and had more outdoor, active and carefree attitudes, to yin introspective energy. The shorter, cooler days signify that it’s time to stay indoors more, go to bed earlier, and focus more on rest and quiet energy.

The yin/yang organs that are associated with autumn are lung and large intestines. Lung organ in Chinese medicine focuses on looking for new experiences, new people, beliefs and projects within ourselves. It is also a time to set new boundaries, limits and focus on protecting yourself from things that do not serve a purpose in your life.

When the lungs are in balance this process is a simple and effortless to do, there is a clarity in thought, and an inner peace with knowing who you are and what you need. When lungs are out of balance grief and sadness takes over, there is a sense of isolation from others, being stuck on the past, not being able to cope with change, and a struggle to detach yourself from things or people that are not beneficial anymore.

Large intestine is the yang organ for autumn, its job is to let go and get rid of waste whether physical or emotional. When it is out of balance the person becomes more stubborn, pessimistic, and stagnation occurs, as they are not willing to let go of what is no longer needed in their life.

Physically if a person is out of balance during this season, they will experience issues with ailments connected to either the lungs or large intestines. Coughs, colds, sinus, asthma, constipation become more prominent as we shift seasons and from yang energy to yin.

To help with the seasonal transition, it’s time to change the foods we eat, the type of exercise we do and the focusing on getting more rest. Our bodies no longer require the coolness of summer fruits, salads, and other cooling foods. We need to start to fuel our bodies with seasonal foods that warm, but also pungent foods to help build our immune system in preparation for winter. Foods such as pumpkin, squash, pears, onions, garlic, leeks, and warming spices are all beneficial to start eating now.

Physically, it is also time to have your walks in the beautiful brisk morning air, allow the lungs to soak in the cool and refreshing air. Deep breathing allow the lungs to expand and release any unwanted and negative energies. However ensure you begin to wear a scarf, to ensure you do not catch a cold during the upcoming months, as your pores begin to close in preparation for winter. If you catch a cold now, it may stay in your system all winter long, until the warmth of the spring weather heralds our pores to open again and finally release any pathogens we catch during autumn transition times.

When you live your life in harmony with the seasons, everything falls into place.

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